While the cannabis industry celebrated five states passing reform initiatives on Election Day, advocates noticed that bills lacked key parameters to address social equity.
In New Jersey, legislators sought to quickly pass adult use legislation after voters approved the ballot question.
Those plans halted soon after they began as advocates and citizens voiced concerns over a lack of equity measures as one of several omissions in the bill. The bill has since been revised and could pass by Monday, Nov. 23.
Advocates say that without equity parameters in place on day one, Black and other communities most affected by the drug war will continue to struggle to gain their fair share of the industry.
Dasheeda Dawson, Cannabis Program Supervisor for the Office of Community and Civic Life in Portland, Oregon, said the omission is primarily due to a lack of lawmaker prioritization during the policymaking process.
"Despite all that we have witnessed in 2020 and all of the performative acts around racial equity across the country, states are still not creating equity-centered cannabis legalization bills," she said.
Like Dawson, Cannaclusive co-founder and cannabis advocate Mary Pryor was an active participant in halting New Jersey's first attempt at passing legislation.
Pryor feels the lack of social equity in bills boils down to several key points:
- An ignorance around race and gender disparity
- Limited access to capital;
- The effects of cannabis …